Soon enough, we'll have to bundle up like Randy from "A Christmas Story"!

Maybe we’re just used to sunny Southern California, but it’s cold out there!

Small Notebook for a Simple Home offers some tips to help those that run their heaters – and their energy bills – save some money, and those that are freezing (because they’re too cheap to run the heater), warm up and get back to normal temperature:

-Tape over leaky cracks along the edges of windows – clear packaging tape tends to do the trick.

-Roll up a blanket or towel and place it under doors or windows to block drafts.

-Put on a sweater.

-Insulate the windows by hanging a clear vinyl shower curtain behind the drapes – it helps stabilize the temperature.

Bake something.

-Close air vents to unused spaces.

-If  you have a fireplace, make sure the damper is closed.

-Keep closet and cabinet doors closed.

-Buy a programmable thermostat – you can take it with you when you move.

-A humidifier causes the air to feel warmer.

-Cuddle up under quilts.

-Use a space heater, carefully.

-Put an electric blanket on your bed.

Drink something hot.

-Switch the ceiling fans to turn in reverse.

-Cozy up with a hot water bottle.

-Apply weather stripping to doors or windows.

-Soak in a hot bath.

-Wear wool socks.

-Wear thermals under your clothing or as pajamas.


Put A Twist To Tradition

These mustard-topped carrot and broccoli spears offer a twist to a Thanksgiving favorite. See the recipe below!

I don’t know about you, but we’ve got our stretchy pants out and ready to be worn tomorrow as we feast on some delicious food.

Here are some recipes that may add a little flare to some traditional dishes:

**Apple Cranberry Pecan Stuffing**


1 1/2 cups apple juice
2 tablespoons  butter or margarine
1 package (6 oz.) STOVE TOP Stuffing Mix for Chicken
1 small  apple, chopped
1/2 cup cranberries
1/4 cup  chopped PLANTERS Pecans, toasted

1. Bring juice and butter to boil in medium saucepan on high heat.

2. Add stuffing mix and fruit, mix lightly. Cover. Remove from heat.

3. Let stand 5 minutes. Stir in nuts.

**Garlic Mashed Potatoes**


2 1/2 pounds baking potatoes (about 7), peeled, quartered
4 cloves  garlic, minced
1 tub (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese Spread
1 tablespoon  butter or margarine
1 teaspoon salt

1. Cook potatoes and garlic in boiling water in large saucepan 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender, drain.

2. Mash potatoes until smooth.

3. Stir in remaining ingredients until well blended.

**Cheesy Green Bean Casserole**


2 packages (16 oz. each) frozen French-cut green beans, thawed, drained
1 can  (10-3/4 oz.) condensed cream of mushroom soup
1/2 pound (8 oz.) VELVEETA Pasteurized Prepared Cheese Product, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 1/2 cups  hot water
1/4 cup butter
1 package  (6 oz.) STOVE TOP Stuffing Mix for Chicken

1. Heat oven to 350ºF.

2. Combine beans and soup in 2-quart casserole dish, top with VELVEETA.

3. Add water to butter in medium bowl, stir until melted. Stir in stuffing mix just until moistened. Spoon over bean mixture.

4. Bake 35 to 40 min. or until heated through

**Watergate Salad**


1 can (20 oz.) DOLE Crushed Pineapple, in juice, undrained
1 package  (3.4 oz.) JELL-O Pistachio Flavor Instant Pudding
1 cup JET-PUFFED Miniature Marshmallows
1/2 cup  chopped PLANTERS Pecans
1 1/2 cups thawed COOL WHIP Whipped Topping

1. Mix first 4 ingredients in large bowl until well blended.

2. Stir in COOL WHIP.

3. Refrigerate 1 hour.

**Carrot and Broccoli Spears with Mustard Sauce**


1 bunch broccoli (1 lb.)
4   thin carrots with 1 inch green tops (about 4 oz.), peeled, cut lengthwise in half
1/4 pound (4 oz.) VELVEETA Pasteurized Prepared Cheese Product, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 tablespoon  water
1 green onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon  GREY POUPON Country Dijon Mustard

1. Use vegetable peeler to peel tough skins off broccoli stalks. Quarter each stalk of broccoli lengthwise. Place carrots in steamer basket, cover with broccoli. Steam 4 to 5 min. or until vegetables are crisp-tender.

2. Meanwhile, microwave VELVEETA and water in microwaveable bowl on HIGH 1 to 1-1/2 min. or until VELVEETA is completely melted and sauce is well blended, stirring after 1 min. Stir in onions and mustard.

3. Place vegetables on platter, top with sauce.

**Pumpkin Spice Roll**


3/4 cup plus 2tablespoons powdered sugar, divided
3/4 cup  flour
1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon  CALUMET Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3   eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup  canned pumpkin
1 cup chopped PLANTERS Walnuts
4 oz.  (1/2 of 8-oz. pkg.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups thawed COOL WHIP Whipped Topping

1. Heat oven to 375°F.

2. Grease 15x10x1-inch pan; line with waxed paper. Grease and flour waxed paper. Sprinkle clean towel with 1/4 cup powdered sugar.

3. Mix flour, spice, baking powder and salt. Beat eggs and sugar in large bowl with mixer on high speed until thickened. Add pumpkin; mix well. Add flour mixture; beat just until blended. Spread onto bottom of prepared pan; sprinkle with nuts.

4. Bake 15 min. or until top of cake springs back when touched. Immediately invert cake onto towel; remove pan. Carefully peel off paper. Starting at one short side, roll up cake and towel together. Cool completely on wire rack.

5. Beat cream cheese and 1/2 cup powdered sugar in medium bowl with mixer until well blended. Add COOL WHIP; mix well. Carefully unroll cake; remove towel. Spread cream cheese mixture over cake. Reroll cake; wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 1 hour. Unwrap and sprinkle with remaining powdered sugar just before serving.

These all sound so good! Is it cheating if we start eating now? 😉

Putting The GREEN In Green Beans!

Green up your grub by purchasing a free range turkey this Thanksgiving as a healthy alternative!

It’s an understatement when we say Thanksgiving is one of our favorite holidays. Really, who can pass up grazing on turkey and trimmings throughout the day while watching “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” and football?

But as the day approaches, we’re looking to alter our Thanksgiving by making it a little more planet-friendly. Although we all may not  be able to make drastic changes to our holiday plans, it’s the little changes that can make a big difference in the long run.

Here are some tips to help you go green this Thanksgiving:

1. Green Up Your Grub

Sure, turkey is the favorite at Thanksgiving, but who says an organic one isn’t as good? Organic free-range turkeys are turkeys that aren’t in cages and are allowed to move about the yard and although expensive, is a healthy alternative. If not in your budget, purchase a regular turkey and compliment it with organic sides to create a healthy balance. And as you shop for your food essentials, be mindful of farmers’ markets, family farms, and community-supported agriculture options in your area to purchase fresh produce, dairy and grass-fed meats. Click here for organic coupons to help cut the cost of your meal.

2. Crowd Control

Statistics show that at least 28 billion pounds of edible food is wasted each year – equating to more than 100 pounds per person! And according to Recycle Works, the average household waste increases 25 percent between Thanksgiving and New Years Day! That’s a lot of unnecessary waste! Fortunately, Use Less Stuff created a list of the appropriate portions that should be dished out per person:

-Turkey: 1 pound

-Stuffing: 1/4 pound

-Sweet Potato Casserole: 1/4 pound

-Green Beans: 1/4 pound

-Cranberry Sauce: 3 Tablespoons

-Pumpkin Pie: 1/8 of a 9-inch pie

Granted, not all trimmings – and appetites – are represented, but monitoring the amount of food you cook and serve is a good idea!

3. Table Talk

The idea of setting out your finest china and cloth napkins may be daunting, so if you’re not interested in washing dishes and doing laundry after a long day in the kitchen, opt for biodegradable and compostable utensils, napkins, and plates. Basically, NO STYROFOAM!

And if you want a more relaxed, intimate atmosphere, ask your guests to bring their own plates, cups and silverware. Ask them to bring a side dish too while you’re at it!

Oh, and if you do decide to go the china route, be sure to fill your dishwasher to the fullest capacity, as a typical dishwasher uses 7 to 15 gallons of water per cycle.

4. Decoration Do’s

Homemade decorations are not only fun, but can get the whole family involved and has the potential to cut down cost. Most materials can be found in your craft cupboard or in the backyard. Here are some ideas:

Acorn napkin ties

Dried leaf place cards

Corn or leaf print place mats

Pinecone turkeys

Painted gourds

Festive fall arrangements of pumpkins or corn cobs

Buying decorations is an option too – just remember to buy products you can reuse the following year and to get eco-friendly decorations, such as plants, bamboo place mats, and beeswax candles.

5. Get Some Fresh Air

As family members and friends start to pile up in your home, open your windows and offer guests a place in the patio or porch as an option to keep things cool instead of blasting the AC. You can also host a Thanksgiving picnic at a local park, where football can actually be played instead of watched.

6. Lose the Leftovers

No matter how much you try to cut back, there are bound to be leftovers. Some options include donating the leftovers to a local food bank or homeless shelter, and of course, sending some home with family. If you decide to send food home, do so in plastic containers rather than Saran wrap and aluminum foil. And if there’s still leftover food, get creative and come up with some new recipes to incorporate the remaining goods.

7. Recycle!

Encourage your guests to recycle by clearly marking a bin for recycled items such as food and beverage containers. Recycling will not only reduce the number of times you have to take out the trash, but also the amount of trash you send to the landfill.

We hope that by putting some of these ideas into action, you and your family, as well as our environment, will have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving!


One For You, One For Me!

Starbucks is promoting their holiday-inspired drinks with a Buy One Get One Free event from now until Sunday.


Nothing warms our tummies more than a tall cup of freshly brewed holiday goodness! That’s why we’re pretty excited about Starbuck’s Buy One Get One Free event from now until Sunday.

From 2 p.m. – 5 p.m. each day, you can pick up your choice of a holiday-inspired beverage and get the second one FREE! Eligible drinks include Caramel Brulee Latte, Peppermint Mocha, Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha, Eggnog Latte, and many others!

I wonder if our boss will let us leave work early 😉


Spice up your Thanksgiving dinner with some new drink recipes! See the recipe for this Autumn Punch below!

It’s hard not to think about all the delicious food we’ll be eating this holiday season, but let’s not forget about the tasty drinks too!

Whether it’s a cup of gingerbread-flavored coffee, steamy apple cider, thick eggnog, bubbly champagne, or marshmallow-topped hot chocolate, no holiday season is complete without a good drink in hand.

Here are a couple of new drink recipes courtesy of Better Homes and Garden for you to enjoy this Thanksgiving:

**Autumn Punch**


2 tsp. whole cloves

1/2 of a vanilla bean, split lengthwise

1 64-oz. bottle apple-cranberry juice

4 medium purple and/or green plums, pitted and sliced

1 750 mL bottle Gewurztraminer, or other fruity white wine*

Ice cubes


1. Place cloves and vanilla bean in center of a double-thick 6-in. square of 100% cotton cheesecloth. Bring corners of cloth together; tie closed with clean string. Pour apple-cranberry juice into a large container or pitcher. Add plums and spice bag. Cover and chill for 4 to 24 hours.

2. Remove and discard cheesecloth bag. Stir in Gewurztraminer. Serve beverage and plum slices over ice. (Or omit the ice and heat the juice mixture and wine in a 4-quart Dutch oven until hot.) Makes 10 to 12 servings.

*Non-alcoholic Option: Substitute two 12-oz. cans chilled ginger ale for the Gewurztraminer, and serve over ice.

**Cranberry Tree**


1/2 cup chilled champagne

1/2 cup cranberry juice

Fresh cranberries threaded in a skewer


1. In a champagne glass combine chilled champagne and cranberry juice. Garnish with cranberry skewer. Makes 1 serving.

**Pumpkin Martini**


1/2-oz. Sylk Cream Liqueur

2-oz. vanilla vodka

1/2-oz. pumpkin liqueur (Pumpkin Spice Syrup or Pumpkin Puree can be substituted)

1 tsp. whipped cream

Cinnamon stick for garnish


1. Pour Sylk Liqueur and vodka into a shaker filled with ice, shake well.

2. Add pumpkin liqueur, syrup, or puree, shake well again.

3. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and top with a teaspoon of whipped cream. Garnish with a cinnamon stick. Makes 1 serving.

Do you have any drink recipes to share? We’d love to try them! Send ’em our way and we’ll be sure to share them on our blog!

Our Mission: To Give

As we decorate our homes, cook up feasts for our families, and purchase gifts for our loved ones, we are aware of the many men, women, and children that will go without a warm bed, fulfilling meal, and clean clothing this holiday season.

In an effort to give back to our community and provide the essentials for everyday living, Ernst and Haas Management Co. is  hosting a Holiday Charity Drive until December 31 and is accepting donations of the following products:

Toys (Brand New)

Food (Non-Perishable, i.e. Canned Fruits/Vegetables, Instant Soup, Powdered Milk, etc.)

Clothing (Gently Used or Brand New)

Toiletries (Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Shampoo, Conditioner, Razors, Soap, Brushes, etc.)

All items can be dropped off inside our office lobby and will be donated to and distributed by The Long Beach Rescue Mission.

Our office is located at 4000 Long Beach Blvd. Ste. 105 in Long Beach. Please call us at (562) 989-9835 with any questions.

Shop ‘Til You Drop

The World Wildlife Fund is one of many organizations that will receive a portion of sales from purchases made at Banana Republic from now until Sunday.


Nothing excites us more than scoring a good bargain – especially those that give back to others.

From now until Sunday, Banana Republic is giving customers 30% off all purchases and donating 5% of all sales to the following charities:

Big Brothers Big Sisters

World Wildlife Fund

Feeding America

Teach for America

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

The Global Fund for AIDS and Malaria Research in Africa

So pull out that plastic and swipe away – you’ll feel good about catching a sale AND giving to others!